That Puppy Isn’t A Vacum Bag and as Such Isn’t Disposable

I’d like to say that there’s a good reason for me bing gone from the internet for so long; however there isn’t. I was busy, I was tired, I didn’t feel like writing blah blah blah.  However I’m back and as much as I would like the reason for my return to be that something so funny happened that I ran home to share it.  This is not the case.  Though bright side, I’ve decided to incorporate a dog day section to my blog.  

I work with dogs, specifically at a doggie day care/ boarding facility in an affluent area.  Because of this we tend to draw in dog owners who believe that there is a dog out there that they can get that will have no problems and that if they dump it with us for 12 hours a day there will be no negative consequences, or if there are they can throw money at the consequences until they go away.  To be fair we do our best to make sure all our dogs receive ample exercise and generally have a great time while they’re with us, and I believe we are generally successful. Most of the dogs we have genuinely enjoy their time with us.  This doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t need training, or that you don’t need to work with it.  I could expand that whole paragraph into several ranty blog posts or maybe even a short ranty book but that reality is something that I’ve grown accustomed to.

The following conversation isn’t, and I hope it’s not something I ever do get used to.  For context I was at work preparing to gather a group of dogs to take outside to play.

T: Be carful with Harry, he’s been weird ever since they got rid that puppy.

Me: Oh they got rid of Potter?

T: Yep.  I guess she started guarding stuff and they couldn’t handle it.

Me: Oh. (With a heavy sigh)

What was actually going on in my head, behind that heavy sigh, was a rage filled string of expletives that I won’t relay here because it wouldn’t really make sense.  What I’am actually going to say is a more eloquent translation, and I want to scream in from the roof tops and play it on every radio station and have every rescue brand it on the arms of new puppy owners:  Getting a puppy isn’t a temporary thing.  Dumping them off when they get problems isn’t right or fair no matter how you do it.  And if you’re one of those people who disregards the rehoming policy of the rescue you go through then that is even worse.  Not only are you giving up on this living thing that you’ve agreed to take in, but you’re passing it off to the first person who comes along rather than returning it to people who actually care.  You’re also avoiding having to admit to your mistakes which is cowardly and selfish.

In my three months at this job four dogs have been given up because they were “too much trouble” all puppies, all female, all with names ending in “A”.  I don’t think there’s a correlation there but I still find it funny. The reason that the story with “Potter” really struck me (and no that’s not her real name) was because Potter had been born in a local rescue, and had waited for six months to be adopted.  When she finally was it was a week before the owners decided that she was too much.  A week.  They put no effort into her what so ever.  They wanted a puppy for their 2 year old dog to play with, probably to wear him out a bit which she certainly did.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that Colleen said to me when we take about this epidemic of puppies being rehomed; you have time to train your dog, what you don’t have are the priorities. I work with my girl for about 20 minutes a day total.  Usually broken up into shorter sets.  You could do it during a commercial break of your favorite TV show, though you probably record it now and don’t watch them anyway.  My point is, training doesn’t have to take hours and hours from your day.  It can but if you don’t plan to have your dog running agility courses or competing in IPO then you don’t have to spend that much time on it.  Do a little research the Leerburg site has a free course right now.  Go.  Train. Your. Dog.

What ever excuses or reasons are going through your head right now are crap.  Wake up earlier, watch less TV, whatever, you brought a living breathing animal that is completely dependent on you into your home.  Over feeding it (a rant for another time) and giving it water and the occasional pat is not any kind of life.  Make time for your dog like you do for your husband/wife/significant other/kids/friends/enemies.  You know what everyone on that list has in common?  If you say, “Sorry I can’t hang out with you for xyz reason”, they’ll understand.  At least they’ll understand the words coming out of your mouth.  Your dog knows when you’re there and when you’re not.  They don’t know why, or how long you’ll be gone, and you can’t explain it to them.  The way I try to make up for that is by making sure to spend as much time with my dog(s) as I can.

Now, I recently got a dog from as a result of her being too much for her owner, and I couldn’t be happier with her; so I’m not saying that it isn’t impossible for good to come from rehoming a puppy.  That is also how Dempsey joined our family.  But I’m fairly certain that my new girl, were she give the choice and the ability to understand it, would have chosen her first owner making time for her rather than having her life upended and coming to live with me.   Because this blog is supposed to bring light to people’s days I’m going to leave you with a picture of Artemis, she’ll get her own entry soon!

This is Artemis, lover of walks, hater of peanut butter.

This is Artemis, lover of walks, hater of peanut butter.

So, there’s my rant.  Agree? Disagree? Thoughts? Did I forget something? Let me know in the comments.

Leenie

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